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Case Name Marriott v. Montgomery County JC-NY-0026
Docket / Court 03 CV 0531 ( N.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On April 29, 2003, a person represented by a group of private attorneys from New York and D.C. law firms filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the North District of New York, challenging the jail admission policy of the Montgomery ... read more >
On April 29, 2003, a person represented by a group of private attorneys from New York and D.C. law firms filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the North District of New York, challenging the jail admission policy of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department. The policy, known as a "change-out" procedure, required that each admittee to be placed in the Montgomery County Jail had to remove his/her clothes, shower and then change into jail garb, all while a corrections officer conducted a visual inspection of the admittee's naked body. Plaintiff maintained that the "change-out" procedure amounted to an unconstitutional blanket strip search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, as it required all individuals to go through the procedure, regardless of the crime for which they were charged and without the presence of reasonable suspicion to believe that the individuals were concealing weapons or contraband. Plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief, monetary and punitive damages, and class certification. Defendants, the County and the Sheriff, answered by generally denying all allegations.

Years of intense litigation, extensive discovery and motion practice followed. On March 25, 2005, the District Court (District Judge David N. Hurd) granted plaintiff's motion to certify the class and preliminarily enjoined defendants from using the change-out search procedure. Defendants' motion for summary judgment was denied. Judge Hurd also refused to allow defendants' insurance carrier to intervene in the case. Marriott v. County of Montgomery, 227 F.R.D. 159 (N.D. N.Y. 2005). Defendants appealed and the Second Circuit affirmed. Marriott v. County of Montgomery, 2005 WL 3117194 (2d Cir. Nov. 22, 2005).

After their attempt at summary judgment was denied, defendants moved to limit the plaintiffs' damages under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. 1997e(e), and moved to dismiss the claims against the Sheriff and County officials in their official capacity. By order dated October 14, 2005, Judge Hurd refused to apply the PLRA to the case, but dismissed the official capacity claims. Claims against the individual defendants in their individual capacity remained, as did the claims against the County. Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment on plaintiffs' claims for compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees was denied.

Plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment against the County and the Sheriff on the issue of liability and sought to make the Court's injunction permanent. They also requested an award of interim attorneys' fees for plaintiffs' counsel. Those motions were granted by Judge Hurd on April 12, 2006. Marriott v. County of Montgomery, 426 F. Supp.2d 1 (N.D. N.Y. Apr 12, 2006). That day, Judge Hurd also referred the case to Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles to make a final attempt at settlement. After protracted negotiations, the case was settled.

Under the Settlement Agreement approved by the Court on May 14, 2007, the County agreed to pay $2 million to settle all class claims. Of that amount, $600,000 (30%) was awarded to class counsel, and administrative fees and bonuses to named plaintiffs were paid, leaving $1.3 million to pay class claims on a pro-rata basis. Attorneys estimated 1650 class members existed and that each claimant would receive between $2000 and $3000 each.

We have no information indicating any post-settlement material activity occurred in the case.

Dan Dalton - 01/29/2008

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Strip search policy
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) County of Montgomery
Montgomery County Sheriff's Department
Plaintiff Description All persons in US who have been or will be placed into the custody of the Montgomery County Jail, and were or will be strip searched upon entry. Class period begins 4/29/2000 & extends to date on which strip searches without reasonable suspicion cease.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2005 - n/a
Filing Year 2003
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
Date: Spring 2008
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis Faculty)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

5:03-cv-00531-DNH-DEP (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0026-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/19/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint
JC-NY-0026-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/29/2003
Order [re: Motion to Dismiss] (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0026-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/23/2003
Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Corrections Division Policy and Procedures - Subject - Admissions
JC-NY-0026-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/25/2003
Order [re: Motion to Compel] (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0026-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/23/2003
Order [re: Discovery] (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0026-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/17/2004
Stipulation and Protective Order on Inmate Admission Records (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0026-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/11/2004
Statement of Material Facts
JC-NY-0026-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/05/2004
First Amended Class Action Complaint
JC-NY-0026-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/04/2004
Memorandum-Decision and Order (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0026-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/25/2005
Order [re: Class Certification] (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0026-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/25/2005
Order [re: Motions to Dismiss] (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0026-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/14/2005
Memorandum-Decision and Order and Permanent Injunction (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0026-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/12/2006
Settlement Agreement Plan of Distribution [ECF# 56-2]
JC-NY-0026-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/31/2006
Order Granting Final Approval of Class Action Settlement and Judgment
JC-NY-0026-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/14/2007
Judges Hurd, David N. (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0026-0006 | JC-NY-0026-0007 | JC-NY-0026-0010 | JC-NY-0026-0011 | JC-NY-0026-0012 | JC-NY-0026-0013 | JC-NY-0026-0014 | JC-NY-0026-9000
Peebles, David E. (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0026-0005 | JC-NY-0026-0009 | JC-NY-0026-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barnett, Alexander E. (New York)
Keach, Elmer Robert III (New York)
JC-NY-0026-0001 | JC-NY-0026-0002 | JC-NY-0026-0003 | JC-NY-0026-0005 | JC-NY-0026-0009 | JC-NY-0026-0011 | JC-NY-0026-0012 | JC-NY-0026-9000
Mason, Gary E. (District of Columbia)
JC-NY-0026-0001 | JC-NY-0026-0003 | JC-NY-0026-0006 | JC-NY-0026-0007 | JC-NY-0026-0010 | JC-NY-0026-0011 | JC-NY-0026-9000
Menken, Bruce E. (New York)
JC-NY-0026-0001 | JC-NY-0026-0003 | JC-NY-0026-0006 | JC-NY-0026-0007 | JC-NY-0026-0010 | JC-NY-0026-0012 | JC-NY-0026-9000
Rozger, Jason J. (New York)
JC-NY-0026-0001 | JC-NY-0026-0003 | JC-NY-0026-0005 | JC-NY-0026-0006 | JC-NY-0026-0007 | JC-NY-0026-0009 | JC-NY-0026-0010 | JC-NY-0026-0011 | JC-NY-0026-0012 | JC-NY-0026-9000
Schneider, Charles A. (District of Columbia)
JC-NY-0026-0001 | JC-NY-0026-0003 | JC-NY-0026-0010 | JC-NY-0026-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Francoeur, Joseph L. (New York)
JC-NY-0026-0004 | JC-NY-0026-0005 | JC-NY-0026-0009 | JC-NY-0026-0010 | JC-NY-0026-0012
Hyland, Thomas W. (New York)
JC-NY-0026-0004 | JC-NY-0026-0006 | JC-NY-0026-0007 | JC-NY-0026-0010 | JC-NY-0026-0011 | JC-NY-0026-9000
Marangas, Theresa B. (New York)
JC-NY-0026-0004 | JC-NY-0026-0005 | JC-NY-0026-0006 | JC-NY-0026-0007 | JC-NY-0026-0009 | JC-NY-0026-0010 | JC-NY-0026-0012 | JC-NY-0026-9000

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